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Rwanda plan threat to modern slavery victims

Human Trafficking
29 January 2024
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Press release: House of Lords second reading debate on Rwanda Bill.

Victims of modern slavery may lose out on crucial forms of support under the UK Government’s Rwanda scheme, CARE has warned.

CARE is urging members of the House of Lords to raise the treatment of victims in a significant debate on the Rwanda Bill today.

We are concerned that the controversial legislation could see the UK failing to meet its obligations under international conventions.

Ministers have not demonstrated that Rwanda is able to adequately support victims of modern slavery deported to the country from the UK.

Speaking ahead of Lords Second Reading of the Rwanda Bill today, Louise Davies MBE, Director of Advocacy and Policy at CARE, said:

“The Rwanda Bill is an extension of the Illegal Migration Act 2023, which has the effect of penalising genuine victims of modern slavery who may be in the UK without their consent through trafficking by removing them to another country – even if they get a positive reasonable grounds decision under the government process for determining whether someone is a victim.

“Genuine victims of modern slavery should be entitled to support in the country where they reside. The UK has obligations to support victims under Article four of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Council of Europe Convention Against Human Trafficking, which is clear that entering illegally is not a reason to exclude a person from protection.

“The government must urgently clarify how it is going to meet its obligations to victims of modern slavery. It must also provide evidence that Rwanda can meet the recovery needs of victims. If Ministers cannot provide reassurance on both these points, members of parliament should not have confidence in the government’s plans."

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Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) is a social policy charity, bringing Christian insight to the policies and laws that affect our lives.

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